Sotomayor, “Orígenes”
By Nilina Mason-Campbell · February 13, 2020 Merch for this release:
Vinyl LP, Compact Disc (CD)

Following their respective stints in funky DJ group Beat Buffet, and alt-rock band Jefes del Desierto, siblings Raul and Paulina Sotomayor came together as an outfit under their surname in 2014, releasing their debut, Salvaje, the following year. The Mexico City-based group now includes two additional members on keys, guitar, and bass. On their third full-length album, Orígenes, Sotomayor nails a dynamic and accessible pop sound without sacrificing complexity. The recipe? Strong pop vocals in tandem with inventive, dance-oriented electronic beats. Their ambitious sound is a mixture of influences from across the Latin music spectrum, drawing inspiration from dancehall, cumbia, merengue, Afrobeat and a variety of other genres, and is written entirely in Spanish. There’s an undeniable commercial quality to their music, but it’s delivered with striking soul.

There’s a hypnotic quality to the songs on Orígenes. A large part of this is Paulina’s captivating vocals, which can morph from breathy like in “Tu Cuerpo y el mío” to commanding like on “Latin History Month,” over the course of the record. Lyrical repetition and ever-present, thumping percussion add to the effect. “Menéate pa’ mí” stands out with its relentless tempo, Paulina’s rapid singing, and catchy army of horns, while the groove, bouncy synths and spirit of “Quema” brings to mind Sofi Tukker, even right down to the vocal delivery. Album closer “Ella,” is expansive; the pace significantly slowed with a sparing beat that’s more atmospheric and spatial while Paulina stretches out her words rather than her quick fire delivery in the preceding songs. It’s a whole new tone that leaves the listener to imagine it’s a taste of what to come. The song stakes a line in the sand for the territory they’ve charted and for new frontiers to come in the future.

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